I have used this desktop wallpaper years, now retired. Had to borrow an angel from a different video game franchise because none are truly benevolent in The Binding of Isaac.
Jesus already defeated all of the symbolism found in The Binding of Isaac and their implications on the cross, which is why they are child’s play compared to what I believe to be the most absurd item in BoI: the Bible itself.
Using the Bible against Mom, the game’s final boss (until additional unlocks), results in her instant defeat. Given the information produced in the introduction to The Bible of Isaac, The most offensive feature in BoI is the fact that using the Bible, God’s word, against Satan results in Isaac’s automatic death. Many things in BoI are placed into the game and thematically make sense. This does not.
Isaac is a victim clearly living in an abusive environment. I would argue that his Mom’s conviction—her instant death when Isaac uses the Bible—is one of revelation: the watered down gospel presented through television is but counterfeit compared to a genuine experience with God, his love, and a spiritually healthy community of believers. Truth does more than merely hurt her. It would be expected then, that the Bible would at least inflict critical damage to Satan. Instead, it is worse than ineffective; it is lethal to the wielder. I cannot stress enough how dangerous this gesture is beyond all that other garbage—pentagrams, Ouija boards and such. It is not the book itself that has the power, but the words within. If Isaac, and by his own admission McMillen himself, cannot turn to the Bible and rely on God and his word in their darkest hour, then yes, there is no other way to interpret Isaac’s fate other than grim (Blue Baby), and it is no wonder that McMillen is but a “hopeful atheist” who believes the Bible to be a book of “fairy tales” rather than a confirmation of all of the Lord’s promises to his children, including the return of the Lamb (not to be confused with the abomination in Rebirth, a wretched creation that is inconsistent with McMillen’s otherwise shrewd content choices in the original BoI, though it does align with his self-proclaimed atheism). The ultimate defeat of evil and the triumph of heaven forever is seen in Revelation, a book in the Bible that The Binding of Isaac references frequently. The Good News does not require a quantum physicist to understand, just faith; it is the same kind of faith required to believe that one can play The Binding of Isaac and remain unphased by its imagery. As demonstrated earlier, McMillen banked on folks like myself playing BoI and being outraged, but what about those who play(ed) it secretly despite its content, perhaps even being ashamed feeling some other negative emotion for liking it and therefore being faced with the kind of spiritual crisis that creates more non-believers? It took me eleven months just to get this far in growing bold enough to research and process what I felt to be the most insidious elements of the game. My hope and prayer is that those who read this will come to an understanding of how dangerous The Binding of Isaac can be to the unsuspecting player, nothing more nothing less.
Someone should make a mod that includes the Full Armor of God as an item under the “God Pool” of items. Perhaps that would change Isaac’s ultimate fate.
Since picking up an NES controller in 1985 at the age of 2, Maurice and video games have been inseparable. While most children aspired to be lawyers, doctors, or engineers (at the behest of their parents), he aspired to write for publications such as EGM, PC Gamer, PC Accelerator, and Edge. After achieving ABD status in English at MSU, Maurice left academia and dedicated his writing to his lifelong passion. He is currently the Video Game Editor at Geeks Under Grace.
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